New SLL office lighting guide considers hybrid working and circular economy

The Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) has launched the latest Lighting Guide 07 (LG7): Offices. The new guide considers hybrid working, addressing uncertainty around how office space will be used in the future.

With increased hybrid working and the use of portable devices, people are spending less time at their desks and in the office. This revision of Lighting Guide 7 now includes home office lighting advice.

Simon Robinson, WSP, author of LG7: Offices said, “the future for the traditional office is looking increasingly uncertain. The change had already begun in the years before the Covid-19 pandemic, with people moving to laptops instead of desktop computers and, latterly, to tablets allowing increasing levels of flexibility in where they chose to carry out their work tasks. Whilst it may not be suitable for everyone, many are choosing to redefine their working environment to include their homes for some of the time.

“The look, feel, and layout of office environments will always change to reflect how our lives change. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, is likely to be the catalyst for change on a scale hitherto unseen, making it a great time to be a lighting designer.”

For the first time, this guidance includes a chapter focused on the impact of embodied and operational energy. This chapter discusses the general considerations that may apply to the amount of energy used by an office lighting installation, as well as the energy and carbon used in the manufacture and distribution of luminaires and the raw materials used to produce them. While proportions will vary between individual businesses, lighting represents a significant part of energy use, and this must be considered when designing an office lighting installation.

The guidance encourages the re-use of equipment where possible. Where luminaires are not suitable for reuse as complete units, it may be possible to have new control gear fitted into existing luminaire bodies, thereby avoiding the embodied energy used to manufacture new components. The SLL has produced TM66: Creating a circular economy in the lighting industry, which provides more detailed information on reusing existing equipment.

The illumination levels recommended by this guide reflect those in the British Standard for Light and Lighting – Lighting for Workplaces. It offers guidance that considers both the needs of individuals as well as the need to reduce energy use where reasonable. In the UK, office lighting levels should be provided at a level that is safe, and comfortable, and allows an individual to carry out their tasks efficiently. The approach may differ for each project based on several factors.

The approach reflected in the new LG7 is centred around a base level of illumination, which is then either increased or decreased following an assessment of the individual occupants and use of a space through the application of context modifiers. This can be seen as a significant change to how office lighting levels are determined if considered across the whole office space, rather than as a prompt to consider individual occupants or tasks.

The SLL is a division of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). Members of CIBSE and the SLL receive unlimited online access to guides via the CIBSE Knowledge Portal.

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